Last Saturday morning in Sancta Maria, Ballyboden under 9 footballers
(sections 1 and 3) took on their Kilmacud Crokes counterparts.

The game had been originally scheduled for Deerpark.Upon the text
arriving your reporter broke into a cold sweat at the thought of yet
another visit to Flanaghans. It wasn’t just browsing furniture, it was
also the trauma induced by the memory of losing his much coveted ‘Know
your sport’ umbrella in the old ‘Sportmans Inn’ just hours after it
was won. It was never seen again.

Despite a prospect of rain it was a lovely morning as the boys
arrived. Ballyboden numbers were again impacted by Communions but they
managed to put together three teams of nine boys.
Your reporter covered the game in the middle of the pitch.

Ballyboden lined out with the excellent Sam Lett in goal, A defence of
the fantastic Mark Ryder (who as usual was cheered on by amongst
others, his beautiful sister in her most comfortable looking fold up
chair), the battling Ruairi Mac Mathuna and the brilliant Conor Lowe.
In midfield the dynamic duo of Matthew Nolan and James Kinsella.
Up front the ever improving Sam McCoy, the deadly Daragh Gibson and
the amazing Adam Ryan.

On the sideline they were masterminded by Conleth O’Reilly.
As ever the Ballyboden boys were cheered on by the usual assortment of
parents, siblings, grandparents, cousins, friends, dog walkers and
other wellwishers. Allied to that was a good turnout of wellwishers
for Kilmacud also.

Kilmacud, playing with the breeze, flew out of the traps and within
the first ten minutes had gained themselves a hefty lead. A lead
possibly too hefty for the gallant Ballyboden boys to make up.

Ballybodens first score came from an excellent block by the determined
James Kinsella. A number of minues later the tenacious Ruairi Mac
Mathuna made a fantastic block and soon after the spirited Daragh
Gibson showed his bravery with another block.

All the time though Kimacud were piling on the scores. At the back the
ever relaible Conor Lowe was putting in a fantastic performance with
the excellent Mark Ryder and Ruairi Mac Mathuna soaking up pressure.
In goal the superb Sam Lett wont have had a busier half as he made a
few fine stops and watch helplessly as the Kilmacud shots sailed over
his bar. Such was the Kilmacud onslaught that the Ballyboden midfield
of the dynamic Matthew Nolan and battling  James Kinsella spent most
of the half defending rather than playing further out the field.

With the wind against them, and forwards not allowed to cross the half
way line, Ballyboden were finding it hard to get any ball up to their
forwards. Ballybodens forward trio of the valiant Sam McCoy who late
on in the half was awarded a point as he bravely blocked a clearance,
the skillful Daragh Gibson and the deft Adam Ryan all battled hard.
Given that the team had yet to score a goal or point they were often
a bit Mayoish and also not enjoying good fortune as the Kilmacud
keeper made a number of good saves.

Half time and Ballyboden were well well behind. Conleth had them
gather round and gave them some words of wisdom.
Word was passed that both of the other games were fairly tight, so
Ballyboden would have to up their game considerably.
Positional switches were made. Sam McCoy went into goal, where he made
a number of fine saves and his kick outs were excellent usualy getting
a fine distance on them. The battling James Kinsella went up front
along with the energetic Sam Lett whilst the enterprising Mark Ryder went to midfield.

Kilmacud started well again, but gradually Ballyboden got a decent
foothold in the game. Conor Lowe putting on a great performance got a
point for a block as did the tireless Adam Ryan with a very brave
block. Other Ballyboden players who won points during the half for blocks were the excellent Sam Lett with a fine block by the sideline and the exceptional Matthew Nolan who was
unlucky to be scored for only one block.

Still though six minutes into the second half and Ballyboden had yet
to put the ball over or under the Kilmacud bar.
That was soon rectified as appearing like a new team, it suddenly just
clicked for Ballyboden. The magical Mark Ryder got a fine point for
Ballyboden and soon after added another with a wonderful shot. The
boys were now passing well supporting well and using the ball intelligently. Rather than shots
from wild angles balls were crossed where James Kinsella was able to
knock the ball down to supporting players.

It was end to end stuff at this stage but mostly at the Kilmacud goal
end. Ably supported by the fantastic Matthew Nolan Mark Ryder fired
over yet another point. It was Matthews turn next as after a flowing
move from the back which started with a lovely kick by Sam McCoy, Caught by Sam Lett, passed to  Ruairi Mac Mathuna, who kicked to Dara Gibson, who deftly passed to Mark ryder
who passed to the onrushing Matthew Nolan who fired the ball
beautifully over the Kilmacud bar.

The brilliant Mark Ryder though wasn’t finished for the day as he
fired over another fine score and seconds later was rewarded for his
tenacious play with a point for a block. Ballybodens fine comeback continued as the excellent Daragh Gibson, having been set up by a James Kinsella crossfield ball, scored a
lovely point.

In almost the last kick of the game it was the excellent Daragh Gibson
again who added the final score of the day with another great point
from a good way out.

The final score Ballyboden 29 Kilmacud 52.

Meanwhile in the other games Ballyboden won 47 points to 24 and lost
25 points to 28 so alas lost overall by 101 points to 105. The boys
will have to wait for the rematch to make amends.

Well done to all the boys and those that turned up to support them.

Ballyboden: Sam Lett(block), Mark Ryder (0-4 and a block), Ruairi Mac
Mathuna (block), Conor Lowe (block) Matthew Nolan (0-1 and a block),
James Kinsella (block), Sam McCoy (block), Daragh Gibson (0-2), Adam
Ryan (block)